Lucy Griffiths travelled the world as a Nuffield New Zealand scholar and visited a sheep farm in France that was a supplier of Roquefort cheese. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

BECKIE WILSON

beckie.wilson@age.co.nz

Helping wool reclaim its position as a versatile fibre is the next step for a Masterton entrepreneur and company director as a newcomer to the industry.

Lucy Griffiths is one of three new appointments on the board of Wools of New Zealand — a position she regards as a “real privilege”.

She was brought up in a family who valued the sheep wool fibre produced on their Southland farm.

But she has become concerned that New Zealand’s wool is “in the doldrums”.

“Wool is such an amazing fibre, and New Zealand wool is the best in the world.

“I want to reclaim its position as an amazing fibre that can be used in all different ways and shapes and forms to make our lives more comfortable,” Mrs Griffiths said.

Wairarapa had a strong presence of wool growers contributing to the international market — and Mrs Griffiths would like to see strong importance put on regionally-grown wool.

“I would like to see provenance to become part of the wool story, otherwise we are just New Zealand and that’s too generic,” she said.

Her new role on the board as the grower appointed director will give her the opportunity to meet and work with Wairarapa farmers.

Mrs Griffiths liked the focus Wool of New Zealand had in terms of marketing and selling wool as a premium New Zealand product.

She moved to Masterton 10 years ago after returning to New Zealand from London.

Her original plans were to dive into the manuka honey industry, but after developing her own business, Innov8 Aotearoa, promoting specialty New Zealand products such as sheep dairy product, those plans changed.

Her desire to become more community-involved has seen her become a director on the Trust House board and CEDA, deputy chair of Masterton Community Trust.

She has also held governance roles on the Wairarapa Chamber of Commerce, and Watson and Sons.

After graduating from the University of Otago with a double degree in marketing and physical education, Mrs Griffiths spent seven years employed in marketing New Zealand seafood, wine, honey, meat and dairy products internationally and domestically.

In 2014, she travelled the world as a Nuffield New Zealand scholar, focusing her research on sheep milk.

In most of her roles, her rural experience, coupled with global marketing skills, had set her apart from the others, she said.

Her great-great-grandfather William Cruickshank began the family involvement in wool in 1902 when he set up a woollen mill in Invercargill, producing hosiery, blankets, tweed and yarns.

“My family comes from a proud history of the industry and it’s my opportunity to use any skills that I have in marketing to assist in repositioning the premium product it is.”